As International Archaeology Day (October 15, 2016) approaches, we’re celebrating by sharing posts about what we’re working on now—the daily work of archaeology.
(October 9, 2016)—For the last 13 years, I have had the pleasure of editing the weekly Southwest Archaeology Today (SAT) newsletter. It has become one of my favorite weekly duties, which I enjoy for two important reasons.
First and foremost, the SAT newsletter system now reaches roughly 3,500 subscribers, making the newsletter an effective tool for maintaining and communicating with a network of like-minded professional and avocational practitioners in Southwestern archaeology and historic preservation. I genuinely enjoy finding interesting and sometimes off-beat stories that highlight best practices in preservation archaeology.
Second, by devoting a few hours a week to scanning news media stories about these issues, I’ve had the privilege of watching a number of issues in Southwestern archaeology unfolding into part of a national movement. This past year has been particularly gratifying as we continue to share stories about Native Americans asserting their civil rights and tribal sovereignty.
So, for my contribution to International Archaeology Day, I’m here, stuck at home in my comfy chair, putting together this week’s issue of Southwest Archaeology Today. I’m stuck in my chair because I had spinal surgery last Friday, and I’ve been banned from working at the office for at least a month—but more of that a bit later.
Other than that, I’m spending Sunday afternoon like I spend most Sunday afternoons: with a large mug of coffee and a week’s worth of keyword search hits on any news that might be related to our preservation archaeology mission, as well as the usual slew of lectures and other event announcements.
If you are not receiving Southwest Archaeology Today, please consider joining our mailing list. Subscriptions are free, and all you have to do is add your name to the list here. Our newsletters are light on your email inbox, and though we might pass the hat for donations once in a while, we never spam our colleagues.
If you are working with a not-for-profit or educational institution that is not using the SAT newsletter to publicize your events, blog posts, workshops—etc., etc.—we here at Archaeology Southwest are at your disposal. The more we can share our research with an interested public, the more we all ensure continued public support for ethical archaeological research. Submission guidelines are available here.
And finally, for all who are just getting started in careers in archaeology, might I offer a word of advice? At least once, schedule a meeting with an occupational therapist to learn the right way to use your tools. Learn the right way to shovel-scrape and shovel-toss, and learn the safest way to grip a pick-axe or mattock. Figure out the best ways for collecting 75 -pound pieces of ground stone from a deposit 2 meters deep. I did not take this advice when it was offered to me some 25 years ago. Now I’m paying for habitually poor work ergonomics, and I suspect I will never walk through an airport scanner the same way again.